2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,
Verses 2-4 describe the believer’s anticipation of his resurrection body. In their suffering, the gospel team groaned for a permanent, heavenly home after death.
The “for” explains the present period while we still have a temporal body with all its problems.
in this [current physical body] we groan,
While on earth, the believer groans in his physical body. We “groan” in this body of suffering. The groaning here is not despairing or mournful. It is only the period whereby we earnestly wait for a better body (Ro 8:23). The emphasis is on longing in the present, not where we will be between death and the resurrection.
earnestly desiring [yearns]
The believer eagerly anticipates his future. He not only desires but earnestly yearns for a resurrection body. He knows what is ahead because of what Christ has done for him. He has an intense desire to be with Christ, with a physical yet immortal body (which will not happen until the Rapture).
to be clothed [to be covered over with the resurrection body]
The Greek word for “clothed” means to be covered over. The idea is to put on an additional garment. There will be a transformation of the body when Christ comes back. Christians will instantly be transformed to receive their glorified bodies (1 Co 15:41; Php 3:21).
The phrase here is a double compound verb, which stresses the continuity between leaving the earthly body for the heavenly body. At the Rapture, the transition is smooth from the earthly to the heavenly body.
“Clothed upon” is the transformation into the resurrection body and life. This will happen when Christ comes again. Paul and his team would rather be Raptured than die. The Rapture is an imminent event; it could happen at any time (1 Co 15:51, 52; 1 Th 4:16-18).
with our habitation [dwelling] which is from heaven,
The clothing process is when the Christian takes on his new body in eternity (1 Co 15:50-54). Our “habitation” in heaven will be immortal and imperishable bodies (Php 3:21; 1 Pe 1:3-5). This is the believer’s resurrection bodily life in the eternal age to come.
The usual practice is to remove clothes we wear before putting on new clothing. However, the image here is of putting on second clothing over the first set, without removing them. It is like putting an overcoat over a suit. This is the point where the believer will no longer be “unclothed.” The first set of clothing represents our present life and the second set our future, immortal body.
When the Christian dies, he will be without a body for a time; nevertheless, he is “with the Lord” (2 Co 5:8). The Bible gives us no specifics about the condition of the believer between death and the resurrection body or glorified body.
Death is no bleak, black, barren terminus of existence for Christians.
Paul penned Romans 8:17-27 shortly after writing to Corinth, the church to whom he wrote 2 Corinthians. Romans 8 sheds further light on our understanding of 2 Corinthians 5. Suffering is preliminary to eternal glory (2 Co 4:17). Hope and assurance are central to both passages (2 Co 5:5). “Groaning” appears in our chapter and Romans 8:23, 26. Both passages show the tension between suffering and hope. The Christian does not groan from fear or doubt. He is not apprehensive about his mortality. Death to him is a “departure” (2 Ti 4:6). The Christian goes somewhere at death. Death is no bleak, barren terminus of existence for the believer but vibrant life with God.
Many Christians tend to live in the immediate present, with little hope for the future. They are tethered to time. They project very few thoughts upward. The circumstances of a given day imprison them. This is the thralldom of things seen. Their temporary joy of things seen soon vanishes away. Yet, Christians have a glorious prospect ahead—they will be with their Lord. He is the wonderful future of the Christian. Those without Christ have nothing but the dreadful prospect of death. The grave as a destination is mightily different than eternity with our Lord.